cars: GreenDriveExpo

After I ate my vegan granola, I pedaled over to the Green Drive Expo to celebrate alternative fuel vehicles (“Stupid smug eco hippies!” – Cartman)

I missed Toyota’s talk, I would have loved to say “What the hell have you been doing for a DECADE since the 2002 RAV4 EV cars parked to your left!” (several owners drove theirs over).

Chelsea Sexton’s talk was great, very reasoned yet enthusiastic.

  • We have to move on from beating up GM over the EV-1 fiasco.
  • “I don’t have a problem with someone buying a Volt.  I’m concerned about as many EV miles as possible.”
  • Her favorite study is from EPRI, finds that the worse-case EV is about as clean as  Prius.
  • The all EV range means it isn’t for everyone, but for those who need more maybe they get rental credits.
  • Tesla played a crucial role in showing what’s possible
  • Utilities might pre-order lots of kW·h from car makers in the form of used batteries [a battery down to 70% of capacity is still very useful as a stationery energy storage] to reduce up-front cost.

Toyota had three plug-in Prius prototypes, it looks identical to the regular Prius. Even though it only goes 14 miles all-electric, after it switches to hybrid operation the plug-in Prius gets better mpg than the Prius, so it’ll sell fine.

The 2002 RAV4 EV gets much better range, and it’s so strange and infuriating to see the future from the past! The owners have to be creative, they unscrew their obsolete inductive paddle charging boxes from the wall and bring them with them and plug them into 240V.

I talked to two Tesla Roadster owners.  It’s well-finished for a low-volume sports car. The way the LEDs light around the charging receptacle is cool.

The only news to me was Ford is going to put its new plug-in hybrid drivetrain that’s going into the Fusion in the new Escape, and it will be available in all-wheel drive. On the other hand, the Ford representatives who said this also maintained Ford doesn’t currently sell an AWD Escape Hybrid! I drove the mule, the ugly bloated current Escape. The car pulled away in EV mode, but even at low speeds the gas engine was running. The Ford representative had stupidly left the air conditioning on, and it is engine-powered, forcing the engine to run! The moment I turned it off, the engine shut down.

There was one display-only Nissan Leaf.  It’s a strikingly weird-looking car, like a hatchback that expanded and melted in the microwave. The interior is fantastic.

All the other electric-only cars compete in the Leaf’s shadow. The Mitsubish MiEV and Think EV (which was also around in 2002) don’t look like the future. Smart was there, but sadly with the current gasoline model (a tiny car that gets much worse mpg than a Prius, for when size is more important than economy), supposedly the electric Smart should show up soon.

Brammo showed their slick Enertia electric motorcycle, and Pacific EBike showed a lot of $900 Chinese-made electric bicycles and mopeds. Electric bikes are an interesting alternative, enthusiasts pay way more than that to “add lightness” so they can pedal further, but these heavy bikes do the work for you. The smaller the vehicle, the lighter and cheaper the battery, so it’s primarily the USA’s car-centric culture that prevents these alternatives to putting your 200 lb ass in a 3,000 lb vehicle to go to work and shops from selling like crazy.

I’ll upload pix soon.

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One Response to cars: GreenDriveExpo

  1. Thanks for this great post on Hybrid Smart Cars, I was searching for something along the lines of this and in the top 20 results at google, yours was the most informed and well presented. I was wondering, do you think Hybrid Electric Cars would make a great topic for a future post here? Or did you do that already?

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